Home > TV and anime > Elementary: Season 1, Episode 3. Child Predator (2012)

Elementary: Season 1, Episode 3. Child Predator (2012)

Elementary poster

Elementary: Season 1, Episode 3. Child Predator is offering us a clearer picture of the relationship between this Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Dr Joan Watson (Lucy Liu). He’s plainly dysfunctional and she’s there to give him someone to talk at. In the days back in London, he apparently used to talk to a plaster bust he called Angus. Now he has someone animate to discuss cases with and this has the added benefit he doesn’t have to carry the head around. She has her own head attached at all times. Think of her as a mobile source of white noise that blots out ambient distractions and allows this version of the Great Detective to focus on what he does best. I’m not quite sure what that is but, this time after wandering around a road junction in circles, he did manage to see a parked vehicle which had been side-swiped leaving a major smear of different coloured paints. This is high-order observational skills (irony intended). Yet her role is being touted as more than just a sidekick. In each episode she therefore has to be seen doing something valuable. This time she gives him the essential steer in the right direction by suggesting he does squats to wake himself up. Like the idiot he is, he does too many and this gives him a stiff back (not stiff legs, you understand). “Ah ha,” (not “ouch”) he later remarks as he has a twinge that stops him in mid-stretch.

Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) showing the systematic way to work

However, the plot this time around is an interesting variation on an old theme and, to some extent, this rescues the episode from the oblivion for which it was destined. The downside is the resolution depends on information we can’t possibly know. Only Holmes who has read all the files could have access to this particular fact. I always feel this is cheating. The best mysteries play fair and have all the relevant information available for the viewers or readers. That way we can match ourselves against the detectives and see whether we can arrive at the solution before the script or book comes to the great reveal at the end. So where are we with this? We’re dealing with a serial kidnapper of children, most of whom have ended up dead. The pattern of kidnapping and discovery of the bodies is slightly variable depending on how much publicity the parents generate in appeals for the return of their precious tot. It seems the kidnapper may be “getting off” on the level of distress shown by the parents through the media. This gives Sherlock plenty of opportunity to profile the criminal. The subsequent tracking down is again fudged because it depends on work previously done by the FBI which we have not seen, but it does bring us to the rescue of the first boy taken. Now grown into a young adult, he makes an interesting figure and poses the usual question of how far he’s been affected by the Stockholm Syndrome. Sherlock does a good job of eliciting a reaction from him before his parents arrive. Since they are worried their son may have been involved in some of the activities related to the kidnapping, their lawyer advises no further interviews by the police. This leaves Sherlock to track down the man.

Watson (Lucy Liu) offering a helping hand

I’m not at all convinced the plot is credible in its detail, but it does have quite pleasing features, so I’m prepared to forgive the screenwriter Peter Blake working with the series creator Robert Doherty. There’s enough to keep my interest despite the almost complete waste of Aidan Quinn and Jon Michael Hill. They have the thankless task of being the token police officers who stand around while Sherlock does all the heavy lifting. And then there’s the similarly token presence of our female Watson. . . I can’t see this pattern changing now and I suspect this will mean my longer term interest will die soon. I’m just not sufficiently impressed by this conception of Holmes for these purposes. He’s too erratic and frenetic to be likeable and I doubt the relationship with this Watson is going to bring anything interesting to the series. She’s not his intellectual equal (few people are, of course) and seems reluctant to come forward with medical opinions when they might be useful. I can’t see any prospect of sexual sparks so I think she may be doomed to bland sidekick status. This leaves me thinking Child Predator is quite interesting although I’m not completely convinced by the evolution of the behaviour following the first kidnapping. I know viewers shouldn’t be judging television shows by whether the plots could play out this way in the real world. The whole point of fiction is to extrapolate and speculate on what might be possible. So leaving aside whether such things do happen after a child abduction, this sees the series in a holding pattern. We had a good pilot and now two fair-to-reasonable episodes. Perhaps there’s hope Elementary will turn out watchable.

For reviews of other episodes, see:
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 1. Pilot (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 2. While You Were Sleeping
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 4. The Rat Race (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 5. Lesser Evils (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 6. Flight Risk (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 7. One Way to Get Off (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 8. The Long Fuse (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 9. You Do It To Yourself (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 10. The Leviathan (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 11. Dirty Laundry (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 12. M (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 13. The Red Team (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 14. The Deductionist (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 15. A Giant Gun, Filled With Drugs (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 16. Details (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 17. Possibility Two (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 18. Déjà Vu All Over Again. (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 19. Snow Angel. (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 20. Dead Man’s Switch. (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 21. A Landmark Story. (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 22. Risk Management. (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episodes 23 & 24. The Woman and Heroine. (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 1. Step Nine. (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 2. Solve For X (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 3. We Are Everyone (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 4. Poison Pen (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 5. Ancient History (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 6. An Unnatural Arrangement (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 7. The Marchioness (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 8. Blood Is Thicker (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 9. On the Line (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 10. Tremors (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 11. Internal Audit (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 12. The Diabolical Kind (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 13. All in the Family (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 14. Dead Clade Walking (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 15. Corps de Ballet (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 16. One Percent Solution (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 17. Ears to You (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 18. The Hound of the Cancer Cells (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 19. The Many Mouths of Andrew Colville (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 20. No Lack of Void (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 21. The Man With the Twisted Lip (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 22. Paint It Black (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 23. Art in the Blood (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 24. The Great Experiment (2014).

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